Date of Award


First Advisor

Sue Lyon

Second Advisor

Nancy Bonvillain


This thesis is an exploration of the theory and history of unschooling and Sudbury schools, two alternatives to the traditional public and private school system. Both of these alternatives stress freedom for children, as well as trusting that children will learn what they need to learn and grow into impressive adults if they are given their own time in which to do so. I will investigate why the traditional system, including all public and most private schools, is unreformable, and why these alternatives are more educationally viable. I will draw from and synthesize a wide range of texts from authors such as John Holt, John Taylor Gatto, and Daniel Greenburg, as well as from my own personal experiences as a student and a staff person in various alternative education settings. Additionally, I will discuss the results of a qualitative research study that I conducted relating to the state of the Sudbury school movement.

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